Nineteenth century pub faces demolition by Hackney Museum dedicated to English interiors

William Palin from Spitalfields Historic Buildings, right, and Clem Cecil from Save the Britain's He

William Palin from Spitalfields Historic Buildings, right, and Clem Cecil from Save the Britain's Heritage stand against plans of demolishing the former Marquis of Lansdowne pub in Cremer Street. - Credit: Archant

A former 19th century pub which survived the Blitz faces an untimely end if building proposals by a leading museum are approved.

The Marquis of Lansdowne in Cremer Street, Hoxton, currently being used for offices, will be demolished if proposals for an £18.9million development project and extension of the Geffrye Museum in Kingsland Road get the go-ahead.

The museum, which specialises in the history of the English domestic interior from 1600 to the present day, bought the pub in 1995. It submitted proposals to Hackney Council at the end of December and expect to hear an outcome in April.

The proposals have upset conservationists.

Urban designer and former Hackney resident Peter Kelly added: “For a museum dedicated to showing how we used to live to demolish a historic pub – which would have been a major part of how the local community actually lived – is disgraceful.

“It shows that the museum’s current managers are ignoring the principles behind the museum so they can pursue a vanity project.

“Sir Robert Geffrye would be ashamed.

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“If they can afford a David Chipperfield extension, they can afford to integrate at least something of the restored pub building into their plans.”

Wiliam Palin, a trustee of Spitalfields Historic Buildings Trust in Folgate Street, Algate, which has restored 60 buildings in London’s East End since the 1970s, said: “The former pub which is in a conservation area is one of the few historic anchors for visitors arriving by train at the new Hoxton station.

“What to most people – including the 600-odd who have signed an on-line petition – is a valuable local survival, with a rich social history and great potential, the Geffrye see as a worthless pile of bricks.

“We are not against the expansion but we are against plans to demolish the pub.

“The trust wrote to the museum and offered to buy it from them but they refused.”

Clem Cecil, director of Save Britain’s Heritage in Cowcross Street, Farringdon, which campaigns for preservation of historic buildings, complained that the group had not been consulted on the plans but stressed it wasn’t against the museum’s plans to expand in principle.

Trustee of heritage organisation The Hackney Society, Nick Perry, said: “We broadly support the Geffrye’s carefully considered plans which are a high quality design that will bring benefit to the area and avoids an expensive, pastiche restoration of a long gone pub.”

A spokesman for Geffrye Museum said: “Although many options for the pub’s retention and re-use have been considered, the museum has decided that the public benefits in developing the site for the museum outweigh the arguments for its restoration.

“The building is not listed, is in poor condition and very few of its original interior fittings survive.”

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